Preventing Healthcare Associated Infections

by Lawton Brothers | Apr 04, 2018

preventing healthcare associated infections
After one the worst flu seasons in years, more people than ever have come to realize the import role that professional cleaning plays in maintaining a safe and healthy environment. Many businesses, large and small, now request that their janitorial services use products designed to not only clean but, to disinfect as well. Hospitals, health clinics, and Doctor’s offices, in particular, face a year-round challenge to provide a safe germ-free setting for patients and visitors alike.

What are Healthcare Associated Infections?

Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are infections people get at a healthcare facility or while receiving medical treatment. HAIs often lead to severe illness and even death. Studies say that about 1 in 25 inpatients suffer an HAI during their time at a medical facility.

What Types of Healthcare-Associated Infections Exist?

While viruses, pathogens, and fungi, are all common causes of healthcare-associated infections, almost ninety percent of cases originate from bacteria. To make matters worse, organisms such as Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) have become resistant to most drugs.

How Do Healthcare Associated Infections Spread?

HAIs mainly spread through person-to-person contact. But, improperly sterilized medical equipment such as respiratory machines, catheters, and syringes also account for a fair portion of healthcare-associated infections. Also, research suggests that excessive and improper use of antibiotics has led to antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.

Who Is at the Highest Risk for an HAI?

Anyone being treated for a medical condition incurs some risk of getting an HAI. For certain bacteria, however, risk increases for patients depending on several factors such as:

• If they have a compromised immune system

• Their age, especially those older than seventy

• How long they’ve been using antibiotics

• Their hospital roommate

• If they have a urinary catheter

• How long they’ve been in the ICU

• If they’ve been in a coma

• If they’ve suffered a shock

Who is Responsible for Preventing HAI?

The responsibility of preventing HAIs lies with the healthcare facility. The CDC provides healthcare professionals with specific guidelines for sterilization and disinfection. By taking the proper precautions, healthcare facilities can lower the incidence of HAIs by as much as seventy percent. Some necessary steps that healthcare personnel should take for infection control include:

• Frequently and thoroughly clean all surfaces, especially those in areas with patient access.

• Identify and adequately isolate ICU patients affected by infection.

• Pay strict attention to hand hygiene – this means washing hands before and after contact with patients or possibly contaminated equipment or surfaces.

• Wear gloves, gowns, face protection, and any other appropriate gear.

• Keep rooms well ventilated.

• Adhere to all aseptic insertion guidelines.

Do Healthcare Facilities Require Special Cleaning?

The Center for Disease Control publishes “Guidelines for Environmental Infection Control in Health-Care Facilities” to promote proper and uniform cleaning of medical facilities in the United States and around the world. Through extensive research, the CDC found that the proper cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces is essential in reducing the incidence of healthcare-associated infections.

Who Does the Special Cleaning?

Hospitals generally keep full-time cleaning professionals on the payroll. Smaller medical offices and clinics usually use a cleaning service. Either way, healthcare facilities have unique cleaning needs that differ from any other type of business. They require expert janitorial specialists who thoroughly understand how to clean, sanitize and disinfect the medical environment.

Who Offers Professional Janitorial Training?

While many cleaning supply companies now sell training videos, The Lawton Brothers offer Cleaning Industry Training Standard (CITS) verified programs taught by accredited and certified trainers. Each course meets a rigorous standard and covers everything the trainee needs to know in the given category. A CITS Training Certificate is granted to the trainee upon successful completion of each course. Students may also earn a CITS Master’s designation by passing an exam after completing seven specific programs.

Maintaining a clean and safe medical environment may mean life or death in some situations. Cold and Flu viruses can live almost twenty-four hours on hard surfaces. Both the Norovirus germ and the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria (MRSA), often survive for weeks at a time if left alone. Professional cleaning not only keeps patients safe, it protects employees as well.

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